Business Success

NOT Paying Attention May Be Key to Business Success

If you’ve been a reader for a while, then you know that I talk a lot of being mindful—of your industry, of your business’s growth and development, of your customers, of nearly everything. Well, I was just taught a very important lesson: Sometimes when you’re not paying attention, some pretty amazing things can happen.

Did you ever focus so desperately on something that it almost seemed to drive it OUT of your life?

We do it all the time—in personal relationships, in sales, in a job search, in all facets of our lives. You think and think about it, you visualize how your life will be better once you have it, and when it doesn’t come, you may just curse the very air around you, wondering why-oh-why you never ever get what you really really want.

Let’s let Tommy Boy illustrate it:

Or maybe Mick Jagger said it better: “If you try sometimes, you just might find—you get what you need.” (It’s not as funny when he says it, though.)

If you don’t possess the healthy personal outlook to say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” at just the right moment when you don’t get what you thought you really really needed, you probably find yourself getting angry or frustrated instead.

By giving in to that anger and frustration, however, you might be blocking your own growth, perhaps missing another opportunity or not allowing things to flow. The energy you put out there is so important, and any form of desperation infused into a situation will often drive it from your life.


Try to have a certain amount of trust that, however a situation turns out, it will be for the best. It’s when we push, pull, and manipulate things that they invariably blow apart right in front of our eyes.

I made a conscious decision to let things flow with 816 in 2014, to not stress every goal. Once I made that decision, which was right around Christmastime, business started to flow IN. And while the first quarter had been looking (alarmingly) quiet a month ago, now it’s full-to-bursting.

I sit down at my computer every day with a new enthusiasm. The anxiety is less because I just trust that everything will be OK—maybe not today or in predictable ways, but when it’s meant to be—because I’m putting positive-yet-loose energy into it.

Just today, I was reminded again of the power of Doing Nothing. I was working, moving through my day. Unexpectedly, a new client called. He offered high praise on the logo designs I’d sent off a couple days earlier. But there was more: He wanted to discuss an exciting opportunity to greatly expand our working relationship.

While I was overwhelmed and thrilled at the energy around the call, what struck me more deeply was the fact that I wasn’t expecting it or focusing on it or stressing it at all, in fact. I was doing the best work I could do, having a positive attitude, and letting my work flow. The momentum that call sparked will only keep me moving along this same path.

Perhaps there is another lesson here, from Tommy Boy and from my own experience. Tell people when they’ve more than exceeded your expectations or surprised you or made you happy. Whether it’s the barista at the local coffee shop, your child, your coworker or employee, whoever it is… show your appreciation.

Maybe we can keep some New Year’s enthusiasm going for a bit longer than the first couple weeks of the new year.

Photo credit: M I S C H E L L E

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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